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Brexit news: Get real or we’re off! Boris stuns EU with new deadline – just WEEKS to go | Politics | News

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Mr Johnson’s statement comes after it was widely reported the UK was also ready to effectively bin the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement unless the EU comes up with an acceptable offer. The Prime Minister said:  “The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too. “There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on 15 October if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year. So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point.”

“If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”

In a sensational development for the entire process, the UK is planning legislation which would effectively dump a crucial part of the original deal relating to Northern Ireland. The internal market bill is set to published on Wednesday – and it will “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” in areas related to state aid and Northern Ireland customs, the Financial Times has claimed. 

Britain left the EU on January 31 but talks aimed at reaching a new trade deal before the end of the transition period on December 31 have so far hit snags on state aid rules and fishing.

Without a deal more than £750billion in trade between Britain and the EU could be thrown into uncertainty with rules over everything from car parts and medicines to fruit and data.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, described the Northern Ireland protocol as being “critical for single-market integrity” – while declining to comment on the FT’s report specifically.

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Boris Johnson Michel Barnier

Boris Johnson’s plan to rip up the Withdrawal Agreement will not impress Michel Barnier (Image: GETTY)

11:30pm update: EU official withdraws presidential bid over harassment allegations

Jacek Krawczyk, group president at the European Economic and Social Committee, has withdrew his candidacy for overall president of the body over longstanding allegations of harassment.

On Monday, the group president resigned, and issued a statement which saw him “strongly reject the charges” against him.

He also accused outgoing president Luca Jahier, the outgoing EESC president, of “political and even hostile” actions that were “contrary to the law.”

Mr Jahier demanded Mr Krawczyk withdraw his candidacy in October last year.

Dylan Donnelly takes iver reporting from Paul Withers

10.30pm update: Frost sends huge warning to Barnier ahead of crunch Brexit talks

David Frost has warned EU counterpart Michel Barnier progress must be made in crucial talks this week in order to strike a deal in time for the end of the Brexit transition period.

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiatior has called for “more realism” from Brussels as he said the two sides “can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground” in the deadlocked talks.

Mr Frost and Mr Barnier will begin the eighth round of talks in London on Tuesday.

The UK negotiator will say: “Today, I will sit down with Michel Barnier and drive home our clear message that we must make progress this week if we are to reach an agreement in time.

“We have now been talking for six months and can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground.

“We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country.”

“If they can’t do that in the very limited time, we have left then we will be trading on terms like those the EU has with Australia, and we are ramping up our preparations for the end of the year.”

10.20pm update: DUP comments on reports Brexit withdrawal deal could be superseded

In a statement, the party said: “We note the speculation that the Government will pursue fall-back measures under the Internal Market Bill to protect Northern Ireland’s interests should a deal not be agreed that mitigates the threat of the NI Protocol.

“We will want to see the finer details and clauses relating to this, and will study them carefully.

“We welcome them in broad terms in so far as they go, but the Government must continue to work to remove any disadvantages to Northern Ireland brought about by its signing up to the protocol.”

brexit news uk eu trade deal

Brexit news: David Frost has sent a warning to Michel Barnier ahead of the latest round of talks (Image: GETTY)

9.49pm update: France lashes out as Boris issues new Brexit threat – ‘British don’t seem to understand’

France has launched a furious attack against the UK following a fresh Brexit threat from Boris Johnson as talks over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union edge closer to complete collapse.

The country’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told radio station France Inter: “The negotiating mandate has been validated by the 27 EU countries, on the conditions of relations, in particular, economic relations between the United Kingdom and Europe from January 1 next year.

“This mandate is not linked to Michel Barnier. It is linked to the commitment of 27 countries. The British do not seem to understand that if they want access to the European market, they must respect the rules of the common market.

“If they want to negotiate a good agreement, we must not only talk about the subjects that interest them, but we must talk about the global subjects of the future relationship.

“Right now, that’s not happening.”

8pm update: Brexiteer declares victory over EU – ‘Boris has outwitted and outmanoeuvred Barnier!’

Boris Johnson has “outwitted” and “outmanoeuvred” the European Union in post-Brexit trade talks, a think tank chief has declared.

Director of the Bruges Group Robert Oulds insisted the Prime Minister has “defeated” the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in a move that will pave the way for a “fair and reasonable” deal.

The Brexiteer said: “Boris Johnson has outwitted and outmanoeuvred the EU.

“He’s realised their weakness and Britain’s strength. He has defeated Michel Barnier in the negotiations.

“It seems like it’s going to be game, set and match to Britain.”

6.34pm update: Theresa May was almost right! Brexiteer exposes INFURIATING reason UK still stuck in EU quagmire

A prominent Brexiteer has exposed the infuriating reason the UK remains at loggerheads with the EU over their future relationship, as trade deal talks between the two sides once again threaten to boil over.

Theresa May had famously insisted “no deal is better than a bad deal” as she stood her ground in the early part of negotiations with the EU.

But Conservative Party MP Sir John Redwood said as soon as the former Prime Minister dropped this slogan and began to bow to EU demands, “she left the UK unable to get any kind of decent deal”.

He wrote in his latest blog post: “Mrs May had the right approach and the right slogan when she first embarked on negotiations over the UK’s exit from the EU. ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’.

“If she had stuck to that we would now either be completely out with no deal, or more likely out with a Free Trade Deal to protect EU tariff free entry to the UK market and vice versa.

“Once she dropped this important statement and revealed a continuous wish to give in to most demands the EU made she left the UK unable to get any kind of decent deal.

“The EU perceived the UK as weak and willing to recreate many features of its membership without the votes or voice. This was all much chronicled here as elsewhere, as delay followed concession and concession followed delay.

“UK voters showed their massive disapproval in the European elections which should not have been needed had we simply left as planned, and went on to confirm their clear wish to leave the EU with or without a Free Trade deal in the General election of 2019.”

5.55pm update: They’re FINALLY getting it! German economist admits serious ‘concern’ over no deal Brexit

Brexit fears have begun to take hold on the continent after officials from Europe’s strongest economy have admitted their “concern” over a no deal exit for the UK.

If the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier fails to come to an agreement with the UK, German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) chief, Martin Wansleben, warned companies are now running out of time to make post-Brexit preparations.

Mr Wansleben also admitted progress needed to be made in order for a deal to then be ratified by the EU Parliament before the turn of the year.

He told the Funke-Media group: “The German economy is very concerned that the Brexit negotiations on future economic relations are still not making progress.

“Definitely, companies have to adjust to longer processing times at the borders as well as to customs bureaucracy and double approval procedures for products.

“The uncertainty among German companies is palpable – in a situation where they have already been shaken up by the corona crisis.”

brexit theresa may

Brexit news: Theresa May had insisted ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ (Image: GETTY)

5pm update: Economists stick to Brexit forecast despite increasing no-deal fears

Financial experts are sticking to their forecasts the UK and EU will agree some sort of post-Brexit trade deal, believing London is probably toughening its rhetoric in a bid to pressure Brussels into a compromise.

Chris Graham, Europe Economist at Standard Chartered, said: “Rhetoric in past few days has been ramped up, but we don’t think this materially changes the prospect of a deal being reached before the end of the year.”

He added his team are sticking to probabilities of a deal at 50 percent, no-deal at 30 percent and an extension of the talks to 20 percent.

Petr Krpata, Chief EMEA FX and IR Strategist at ING, has predicted a 50-60 percent probability of a deal being agreed.

He said: “Yes, the latest developments definitely increased the chance of a no-deal Brexit, but still no deal is not our base case.”

4.47pm update: Philip Hammond warns Government against overriding Withdrawal Agreement

The former Chancellor tweeted: “Let’s be clear on two points: 1) Leaving without a deal would not be a ‘good outcome for the UK’; nor would it be the outcome Boris and the Brexiteers promised.”

He added: “2) The UK is a rule-of-law state, and attempting to legislate domestically to override international law would be an incredibly dangerous step and bound to lead to conflict with the judiciary. It would also hugely damage our standing on the world stage.”

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Brxit news: Germany is worried about the impacts of a no deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

4.15pm update: Macron says he had ‘very good exchange’ with Boris

Emmanuel Macron has said he enjoyed a “very good exchange” with Boris Johnson on a number of topics, including Brexit.

Following a phone call with the Prime Minister, he tweeted: “Very good exchange with @BorisJohnson.

“We are going to strengthen our co-operation against migrant traffickers.

“We also discussed the consequences from the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, the situation in Lebanon and the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.”

3.20pm update: EU PANIC – Macron in urgent phone call with Boris to urge for resolution on Brexit row

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron have been forced into an urgent phone call to agree on the “importance of making progress this month” as a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and European Union edges closer to collapse.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron earlier today.

“They discussed the shared challenge of illegal small boat crossings from France to the UK. The Prime Minister set out that the UK’s aim is to stop the smuggling operations and prevent boats arriving on our shores, and they agreed to work together in a spirit of co-operation to address the issue.

“The Prime Minister and President Macron expressed their outrage at the attack on Alexei Navalny and reiterated that Russia must urgently explain how the opposition leader was poisoned with novichock.

“They also discussed UK-French co-operation on tackling coronavirus and on other international issues, including the crises in Libya and Lebanon and the Middle East peace process. The Prime Minister offered his condolences for French casualties in Mali this weekend.

“On the negotiations to reach a trade deal with the European Union, the Prime Minister and President Macron agreed on the importance of making progress this month and reaching a conclusion on talks quickly.”

brexit boris johnson emmanuel macron

Brexit news: Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron have held talks over the phone (Image: GETTY)

Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Ciaran McGrath.

2.35pm update: 

Brussels has threatened to walk away from Brexit trade talks if Downing Street rips up the Irish border pact as a trade row broke out between the two sides.

In an furious outburst, top eurocrats signalled they were ready to quit the negotiations unless Boris Johnson univocally agreed to implement a series of checks on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said honouring the Withdrawal Agreement signed last year is a “prerequisite” for a free-trade agreement.

And Michel Barnier, her chief negotiator, was said to be ready to storm out of this week’s crunch round of talks unless he is given sufficient promises by No10 over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

2.26pm update: ‘Agreements must be kept’! MEP rages at Johnson

Iratxe Garcia Perez, president of the Socialist and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, tweeted about the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement: “The WA is simply not open for debate.

“It beggars belief that Boris Johnson is considering going back on an agreement he himself negotiated not even a year ago, right in the midst of talks on the future partnership.

“All is about trust and it is running out. Agreements must be kept.”

2.11pm update: Johnson statement sets clear deadline

Boris Johnson has made his intentions clear in a statement issued by Number 10.

He said: “The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too.

“There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on 15 October if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year.

“So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point.”

2.10pm update: Don’t overreact, Coveney tells nervous colleagues

Ireland’s foreign minister said Dublin should not overreact to reports that Britain may seek to undermine its Brexit withdrawal agreement but warned that such a move would be a very serious breach of trust and fundamentally undermine ongoing talks.

London is reportedly planning new legislation to override parts of the agreement and create frictions in British-ruled Northern Ireland where special arrangements had been made to avoid a hard border with Ireland to the south that could be detrimental to a peace agreement.

Simon Coveney told national broadcaster RTE in an interview: “Is this political gamesmanship or is there really a piece of legislation that’s going to emerge this week, which is contrary to the withdrawal agreement. We’ll have to wait and see.

1.04pm Government “remains committed to Northern Ireland protocol”

The Government remains committed to the Northern Ireland protocol, an official has insisted – but has no choice but to pass fresh legislation to prevent chaos further down the line.

The official said: “The government is completely committed, as it always has been, to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol in good faith.”

“If we don’t take these steps we face the prospect of legal confusion at the end of the year and potentially extremely damaging defaults, including tariffs on goods moving from GB to Northern Ireland.

“We are making minor clarifications in extremely specific areas to ensure that, as we implement the protocol, we are doing so in a way that allows ministers to always uphold and protect the Good Friday peace agreement.”

12.47pm update: Little time left, says German Government

Germany is convinced that a divorce deal between Britain and the European Union can still be reached, but there is little time left and London must make concessions in the talks, a German government spokesman said on Monday.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier earlier said that negotiations on future relations were difficult and declined to comment on a report Britain was planning legislation to override parts of the divorce deal.

11.59am update: Trade deal odds improve as Trump re-election chances grow

The odds on a trade deal are changing in line with Donald Trump’s odds to win the election, Betfair has said.

On 23 August, a UK-US trade deal was 1/2 (67 percent implied probability) and Trump to win the election was 11/8 (42 oercent).

Now, the trade deal is 2/5 (71 percent) and Trump to win is 11/10 (47 percent and as Trump’s chances improve by five percent, the chances of the trade deal being completed improve also by almost five percent.

A Betfair spokesman said: “The market reflects that Trump is far more likely to complete a trade deal with the UK in 12 months than Joe Biden is.”

11.11am update: EU chief Von der Leyen sounds warning to Boris

Britain must honour its agreement on the withdrawal from the European Union if it wants to have a deal on any future relationship with the 27-nation bloc, the President of the European Commission signaled on Monday.

Ursula von der Leyen was responding to a newspaper report on Sunday that the British government was planning legislation to override key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

She tweeted: “I trust the British government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law & prerequisite for any future partnership.

“Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island & integrity of the single market.”

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

10.48am update: Government “considering fall back options”

Britain will work to resolve outstanding disagreements with the European Union about the Northern Ireland protocol but is considering “fall back options”, a spokesman said on Monday after a report suggested ministers were considering undermining the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

The spokesman said: “We will always reserve the right to act in the best interests of Northern Ireland and the UK’s internal market. Our top priority is to preserve the huge gains from the peace process and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as well as protecting Northern Ireland’s place in our United Kingdom.”

“We are working hard to resolve outstanding issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol through the Joint Committee and will continue to approach these discussions in good faith. As a responsible government, we are considering fall back options in the event this is not achieved to ensure the communities of Northern Ireland are protected.”

10.35am update: 

BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg suggested the UK could be on the verge of new Brexit concessions after she noted similarities in the language Boris Johnson adopted before signing the withdrawal agreement.

Laura Kuenssberg suggested the tension between the UK and the European Union is reminiscent of the atmosphere between the two parties weeks before they agreed to a Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ramped up the pressure ahead of the eighth round of talks with Brussels, announcing an amendment to the Brexit bill on the clauses covering Northern Ireland.

Ms Kuenssberg noted the dejá vù could also manifest with additional concessions from the British Government in order to secure a trade deal.

10.23am update: 

Nicola Sturgeon has branded Boris Johnson’s Government “charlatans” amid reports the Prime Minister was planning to rip up the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The Scottish First Minister said such a move would constitute a repudiation by the Government of a treaty “freely negotiated by it” and which was described as “oven ready” by Mr Johnson.

She warned this would “significantly increase” the likelihood of a no deal Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The resulting damage to the economy will be entirely Tory inflicted. What charlatans”.

10.20am update: “No deal still a good outcome,” says Johnson

In a statement ahead of the resumption of talks in London on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Jonson said that if there was to be an agreement it needed to be in place by the time of the next EU summit on October 15, and that no-deal would still be a “good outcome” for the UK.

“As a Government we are preparing, at our borders and at our ports, to be ready for it. We will have full control over our laws, our rules, and our fishing waters.

“We will have the freedom to do trade deals with every country in the world. And we will prosper mightily as a result.”

His intervention, apparently designed to put pressure on the EU, came after the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost said at the weekend that he would not “blink” as the deadline for securing a deal grows closer.

9.51am update: No drug shortages, vows Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there will not be shortages of drugs or medical equipment due to Brexit.

When asked on LBC if the health of the nation will be “detrimentally affected” by how the UK leaves the EU, he said: “We already have a deal, the question is whether we can land a long-term future trade agreement.”

When asked directly if people will still get the drugs and medical equipment they need, Mr Hancock said: “I am comfortable we have done the work that’s needed.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage (Image: GETTY)

9.27am update: Throw “oven-ready” deal in the bin, says Farage

Responding to the latest reports, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted: “The ‘oven-ready’ deal last year was not Brexit and we said so, I am pleased that we are tearing it up.”

9.15am update: No customs checks, insists Eustice

Mr Eustice did not comment specifically on whether Downing Street had predicted a 30-40 percent chance of securing a new deal.

He added that although there would be no customs checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, there may be some administrative processes for goods transiting through.

Nigel Farage's tweet

Nigel Farage’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

9.38am update: Northern Ireland politician warns of “catastrophic consequences”

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said there would be “catastrophic consequences” should Westminster ministers override the Withdrawal Agreement.

After Steve Aiken, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, called on people to “await the actual proposed legislation” before making a judgment, Ms Long responded: “Let’s not.

“Let’s make it clear right now where we stand and the catastrophic consequences of such action now, while there is a chance of influencing how this unfolds,” she tweeted.

“At the very least, if they proceed, they can’t claim the damage it will bring in its wake was not anticipated.”

9.10am update: EU “in denial”, says Eustice

George Eustice did not confirm that no-deal was back on the table, and said that the European Union appeared to be in denial about the UK’s desire to become an independent country.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The Prime Minister has been clear, we’re not after anything exceptional or special really.”

“We understand the EU’s position on these things but we do think an agreement along the lines of the agreement the EU has with Canada, a fairly standard but quite ambitious free trade agreement, is something worth doing and we stand ready to do that.

“You will have noticed the European Union have been reluctant to engage on that basis and appear to be somewhat in denial about the fact that we do genuinely want to be an independent country so those negotiations have not been easy.

8.59am update: Eustice quizzed on “oven ready” deal

Responding to questions about whether Boris Johnson’s deal was not “oven ready”, something the Prime Minister has stated many times previously, George Eustice admitted that some “finer points” still needed to be resolved.

He said: “The deal was always very clear, it had the Northern Ireland protocol, it set out the arrangements that would prevent the need for any checks along the Northern Ireland border but there were also one or two finer points of detail that still had to be resolved.

“Michael Gove is leading on that for us and they’ve been working through some of these very technical issues.

“All we’re really saying is that once that process is concluded there may still be one or two loose ends and we just need the ability to give people the certainty they need to legislate to give that clarity – that’s all this is about.”

8.55am update: Government not posturing, insists Eustice

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the Government was not “posturing” or threatening the European Union, following reports that the Government is planning to propose a five-week deadline to accept new trade terms in the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Eustice said that there may still be “one or two loose ends” once the process was concluded, but that the Government was still positive in seeking a “fairly standard” trade agreement.

He said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear since he was elected with a very clear mandate to leave that we would leave at the end of the transition period with or without a negotiated settlement.

“We said that we would work night and day to try to get that Canada-style trade deal that we seek but if the European Union wouldn’t offer that, that we would still leave on time and we would do that under the terms of the existing Withdrawal Agreement that we’ve got.

“It’s not posturing or a threat, this has been the reality of our position right from the beginning.”

George Eustice

Environment Secretary George Eustice (Image: GETTY)

8.48am update: Boris wants “best of both worlds”, claims Barnier

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday that negotiations on future relations were difficult and declined to comment on a report Britain was planning legislation to override parts of the divorce deal.

Mr Barnier told France Inter radio: “We demand quite simply, and calmly, and until the end, that the political commitments in the text agreed by (British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson be legally translated into this treaty.”

If implemented, Britain’s reported move could jeopardise the pact and cause frictions in Northern Ireland.

The agreement’s Northern Ireland protocol was important to ensuring there was no physical customs border between Ireland and the province of Northern Ireland, Barnier said.

It was also, he added, “the condition of a unified and functioning economy on the island (of Ireland) as well as for respecting the integrity of the EU’s single market.”

Mr Barnier said: “I remain worried,” Mr Barnier said of the negotiations, claiming Mr Johnson’s Government wanted “the best of two worlds”.

8.33am update: 

Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin and predecessor Leo Varadkar are “extremely nervous” at the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place with talks set to resume this week, a former diplomat has said.

And Ray Bassett – who believes Dublin in the past had “bet on Remain and lost” – said Ireland’s troubles were summed up by the fiasco over Phil Hogan’s forced resignation as EU trade commissioner, agreeing with Mr Varadkar’s assessment it was now extremely unlikely the country would retain the influential portfolio once his successor is appointed.

UK negotiator David Frost and EU counterpart Michel Barnier are due to meet in London this week, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab calling it a “moment of reckoning.”

8.15am update: Pound weakens on no-deal fears

London’s FTSE 100 bounced from a near four-month low on Monday as the pound weakened on growing prospects of the UK leaving the European Union without a trade agreement, while Primark-owner Associated British Foods jumped on issuing a strong forecast.

The export-heavy FTSE 100, which generally moves in the opposite direction to the pound, was up 0.8 percent after ending Friday with its biggest two-day slide in nearly a month following a tech-led plunge on Wall Street.

Healthcare and financial firms were among the boosts to the FTSE 100 in early trading, while the domestically-focussed FTSE 250 rose for the first time in three sessions, up 0.7 percent.

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier has admitted he is “worried” (Image: GETTY)

8.10am update: Blackford warns of dangers of “devastating” hard Brexit

A “hard Brexit” would be “devastating” for Scotland, the SNP has said.

The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said in a statement: “Boris Johnson’s reckless plans for the hardest of Brexits would be devastating for Scotland, causing lasting damage to Scottish jobs and the economy in the middle of a pandemic.

“By threatening to undermine the UK’s international treaty obligations and impose a catastrophic no-deal Brexit on Scotland against our will, the Prime Minister is proving he cannot be trusted and is underlining the need for Scotland to become an independent country.

“Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process. It is increasingly clear that the UK will now be leaving the EU with either a very bad deal or no deal at all – either of which would be a disaster for Scotland.

“With the Tories hardening their Brexit plans and threatening Scotland with a power grab, it is clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland’s economic interests and our place in Europe is to become an independent country.”

8.07am update: 

Michel Barnier has warned he is “worried” for the fate of the post-Brexit trade talks ahead of this week’s make-or-break negotiating round in London.

The Brussels diplomat hit out at his British counterpart for trying to secure a “best of both worlds” divorce from the bloc.

The Frenchman said: “I remain worried. The negotiations are difficult, because the British want the best of both worlds.

“We did not go to bed, in the end the interests of the EU are respected.”

7.52am update: Government “considering fall back options”, says spokeswoman

Approached about the reports, a Government spokeswoman said it was working to “protect Northern Ireland’s place in our United Kingdom”.

She said: “We are working hard to resolve outstanding issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol through the Joint Committee and will continue to approach these discussions in good faith.

“As a responsible Government, we are considering fall back options in the event this is not achieved to ensure the communities of Northern Ireland are protected.”

7.50am: Pulling plug on WA would effectively torpedo hopes of a deal, warn eurocrats

AN EU diplomat suggested the UK would regret reneging commitments enshrined in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The official said: “‘Pacta sunt servanda’ meaning ‘agreements must be kept’ is a fundamental principle in international law.

“If the UK chose not to respect its international obligations, it would undermine its international standing.

“Who would want to agree trade deals with a country that doesn’t implement international treaties?”

Another EU diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Without correct implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, I cannot imagine the EU would conclude a treaty with a country that does not abide by its treaty commitments.”

7.45am update: “Not so oven-ready after all,” says Labour’s Ashworth

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Boris Johnson, I thought, told us he had an oven-ready deal. And, he fought a general election telling us he had an oven-ready deal, now suggests that he was misleading people in that general election.

“And Parliament supported the Withdrawal Agreement earlier on this year. He has made promises and signed a treaty around these arrangements for Northern Ireland, and he now seems to be backing out of that.

“I think people will be very surprised that when he promised us an oven-ready deal, it now looks like he’s pushing us towards no deal at a time when we are in recession, at a time when many fear for their jobs, at a time when the furlough scheme is coming to an end.

“We should be putting in place measures to grow our economy, not do further damage to our economy.”

7.43am update: Eustice downplays Withdrawal Agreement claims

A senior British minister on Monday played down planned legislation that could override the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, saying the goal posts were not being changed but that some ambiguities needed to be tidied up.

Asked about a report in the Financial Times, Environment Secretary George Eustice said there moght be some minor legal ambiguities that need to be tidied up over the Northern Irish protocol.

He said the UK was committed to the Northern Ireland protocol and that London was not moving the goal posts.

Katya Adler

Katya Adler’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

7.36am update: “Self-defeating strategy”

If the UK presses ahead with the plan being widely reported today, it will be a self-defeating strategy, a Brussels insider has said.

Katya Adler, the BBC’s European Correspondent, tweeted: “Senior EU diplomat from country traditionally close to UK: ‘If UK domestic legislation undermines international treaty recently signed by UK+EU, this isnt only a trust orcredibility issue, it could cause trade negotiations to unravel. It wld be a self-defeating strategy by the UK’

7.29am update: Coveney said dumping WA would be “very unwise”

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who played a key role in negotiating the withdrawal agreement and Northern Ireland protocol, said on Twitter that the reported move “would be a very unwise way to proceed.”

Senior members of Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein and SDLP parties, the region’s two largest Irish nationalist groups, also criticised the British government’s plan, as reported by the newspaper.


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